Thursday, October 31, 2013

Signs of Autumn

                                                 Celebrate Autumn                                                        


If I haven’t mentioned it before, Autumn is my favorite season—not only for its beauty, but for its cool nights and windy days, crisp new apples and cider that makes your lips pucker. And when I was a school child, it was the beginning of a New Year. I still have that sense of new beginnings in Autumn.  So I invite you to welcome Autumn. Yes, it officially arrived the end of September, but now is its true nature revealed. It’s also the season of holidays.

Today is All Hallow’s Eve, from which we derive Hallowe’en. (The apostrophe indicates we left out the “v” of Even, as in eventide or evening.)

Here in my small city kids can trick-or-treat from 4-5 PM uptown at the businesses. Then at 5:30 small ghosties and ghoulies descend en masse on the neighborhoods known for their generosity in providing treats to keep dentists in business for at least the following year, until the next generous outpouring of sweets.

Around the county there are corn mazes and a few haunted houses. I’m not big on getting lost in a cornfield after dark, nor do I like things jumping out at me and shrieking. An evil laugh lives on in my dreams for weeks.

Obviously Halloween, as observed in the 21st Century in my area, is a total loss for me.

I do like the idea of All Hallow’s Eve, though, a time to reflect on saints who have gone before us, and whose day will be celebrated tomorrow, November 1. Over the years I’ve learned that saints aren’t perfect people. Well, believe me, that was a relief. Pretty hard to live up to the example of perfect people, even if they are dead and gone.

Saints, I was told, are people like you and me. (Benefit of the doubt operates here.) They were folks who followed God’s calling, sometimes were martyred for it (not sure I want to do that one); and believe it or not, most of them weren’t special at the time they lived.

I always thought of Saints (capital S) as those writers of gospels, like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. But saints (lowercase s) are those who have set an example for me, cared for me. Lovely people.  

So I celebrate the saints in my life: People like a woman I knew as Treva, who became a surrogate Mom to several of the young women in a little country church. Or Vira, my mother-in-law, who, having no daughters, accepted me as her true daughter (my own mother having died several years earlier). My Aunt Virginia, another surrogate Mom to her nieces—always had a smile, even when arthritis was so painful that she could barely move. And Hank and Steve, teachers who mentored me (and countless other students) as we desperately searched for our life’s path.

None of them had the word Saint before their name, capital or lowercase. None of them thought of herself/himself as special. But each one was special to me, and for me, and I celebrate them this eve of the day we honor saints.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


Remember the phrase that starts, "I'd rather be--"? I can't think of any thing I'd rather be doing, or any place I'd rather be.

My residence is in northern Indiana, where we're enjoying the transition into late autumn--color drifting down from the trees, rain spattering the windows, breezes finding the chinks in our sweatshirts with their near-icy fingers. The sun appears once in a while. The dog, Joy, thinks sunshine equals Nice Day. Once outside she's puzzled: today is nicer than the one before, but where did all the grass go?

The impatiens in the photo are the last vestige of summer--my mums are beginning to bloom, and there's a pumpkin on the patio. (In case you're wondering, the chicken-wire cage around the impatiens and a pot of herbs is to deter interested squirrels and cats. Very interested squirrels and cats.)

At this moment, I'm writing--my most rewarding, and frustrating, activity. That's what I prefer to do. Later on, I will prefer to knit, working on hats, mittens, and scarves for folks who need them with my knitter friends at church.

At meals I read. Caveat: This is only possible if you have a very forgiving housemate or live alone. My housemate, Joy, doesn't mind if I read. But I better remember her when I finish my cup of yogurt and allow her to get the very last vestige of yum-o out of the bowl. (That's Joy, 16.5 years old and still my good buddy.)

Segue to food. Not only a necessity in this life, but definitely one of Life's Little Pleasures. I love good food--interesting food--exotic food--making it, eating it, sharing it. Years ago I discovered I have gluten insensitivity, like so many people, and now I cook gluten free. When I don't buy GF foods readymade, I bake them myself: pizza, scones, cookies, brownies, breads of all kinds. I'll be posting favorite recipes from time to time.

Yesterday was yoga day. Fifteen of us showed up for therapeutic yoga with our instructor, Sharon. We meet twice a week for an hour each time--stretches and counter-stretches, end with meditation.

Today I worked with Emily, a young friend I taught to knit. Tomorrow I knit with the ladies at my church who started a fiber arts ministry last January. (More on this later.)

There's so much to celebrate in life! Always something to discover, to explore; something new to learn or teach; new books, new activities, new ideas. New friends, new neighbors to serve. New Day equals New Adventure.

Welcome to Thursday's Child: Together let's celebrate Life!